49ers’ cure for Third Game Syndrome: Beat the Falcons

This is the opening to my Thursday article on the 49ers’ pattern of winning two games and not winning the third. SANTA CLARA — The 49ers suffer from a rare condition called Third Game Syndrome. They win two games in a row and then they don’t win the third. They’ve repeated this pattern five times this season. They’ve just notched their sixth two-game win streak, and the third game looms. Third…

January 17, 2013

Staley on the Seahawks: “Their defensive front is the fastest in the NFL, especially those two guys on the edge.”

SANTA CLARA – Joe Staley spoke at his locker Friday afternoon. Here’s what he said. Q: The Seahawks have the third ranked defense in the league. What makes them so good? STALEY: Very, very fast. Their defensive front is the fastest in the NFL, especially those two guys on the edge (Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin). They want to get you in third-and-long situations, so we have to do a…

December 21, 2012

Why the 49ers will beat the Seahawks

Let me start by listing everything that’s working against the 49ers this week. They are trying to win their third game in a row. They haven’t won three games in a row this season. Seattle’s crowd and home field advantage – the turf – will be tough for the Niners to overcome, even more so than last Sunday night. At least the Niners won’t face a time change and will have…

December 21, 2012

Kaepernick on the four fumbled snaps: “Don’t ask Goody about it, it was my fault.

SANTA CLARA – In the middle of the 49ers’ locker room Tuesday afternoon, Jonathan Goodwin answered questions about the four fumbled snaps Sunday night in New England. After a few questions, Colin Kaepernick walked over and defended Goodwin. Here’s the transcript. Q: Is there anything you can attribute the center exchange problems to? GOODWIN: We really haven’t had any problems, so there’s nothing in particular. Q: Does the weather affect…

December 18, 2012

49ers Week 12 grades: Offense

NEW ORLEANS – The 49ers just beat the Saints 31-21. Here are the grades for the 49ers offense. Offensive line: B-. These guys gave up pressure all game, but did not surrender a single sack because Kaepernick escaped every time. Anthony Davis was flagged for a hold which negated a beautiful throw by Kaepernick and a beautiful catch and run by Michael Crabtree which would have been a 35-yard gain….

November 25, 2012

Cosell: “The 49ers want to make this a physical game, not a run-around game.”

Greg Cosell spoke with Doug Farrar Friday morning on Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner Week 8 preview podcast. Here’s how Cosell said the 49ers will run against the Cardinals’ defensive front Monday night. FARRAR: San Francisco’s offensive line is much, much, much better. They were rocking (Seahawks DT) Brandon Mebane and putting him on his (rear) over and over. COSELL: Yes. That was a great offensive line performance. FARRAR: What the 49ers…

October 26, 2012

Harbaugh on Gore, Jacobs, Iupati and Boone

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Monday afternoon. Here’s what he said about a few of his own players. Q: Frank Gore has 103 carries through seven games. Is that about what you want from him workload-wise? He’s carried the ball considerably less than he had at this point last year. HARBAUGH: No, didn’t have a number in mind. Q: Generally speaking, did you want him…

October 22, 2012

Pro Football Focus ranks 49ers

I’m passing along Pro Football Focus’ player rankings for the 49ers because I think you’ll find them fascinating. If you want to know how PFF grades players, you can read that here. If you want to see the grades, you have to purchase their premium stats. According to Pro Football Focus, Joe Staley currently ranks as the best run-blocking tackle in the NFL by far. Alex Boone and Mike Iupati…

October 22, 2012

Goodwin: “When you get behind, you have to throw the ball a little bit more. That’s not what this team is about.”

SANTA CLARA – Offensive linemen Jonathan Goodwin and Alex Boone spoke in the locker room Monday afternoon. Here’s how each player summed up the offense’s performance against the Giants on Sunday. GOODWIN: We were moving the ball and I think once we got behind, that kind of changed some things up. It was a seven-point game at halftime, and then they were able to come out and get a touchdown….

October 15, 2012

Week 6 grades: Offense

SAN FRANCISCO – The 49ers just lost 26-3 to the New York Giants. Here are the grades for the 49ers’ offense. Quarterbacks: F. This was Alex Smith’s worst game under Jim Harbaugh. Smith threw three picks – the most he’s thrown since 2007. In the first half he missed a handful of open receivers. Then he tried to force a few passes and got picked off. At the end of…

October 14, 2012

Roman says Alex Smith and the 49ers offense are “getting that synergy going.”

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what Greg Roman said about Alex Smith and the 49ers offense at the Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.   Can you just talk a little bit about QB Alex Smith and the improvement you’ve seen in him and what may have allowed him to take what looks like a pretty big leap this year? “I think Alex is performing exactly as we hope any…

October 11, 2012

Roman philosophizes about the read option, and more

SANTA CLARA – Here’s the transcript of Greg Roman’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers. Opening Statement: “Good afternoon. We had a really good training camp. Thought our guys were dialed in every day. I think we got accomplished what we wanted accomplished in camp and we’re able to turn the page here this week, get into the regular season. So, obviously we’re knee deep in Green Bay. Looking…

September 6, 2012

Jonathan Goodwin on the physicality of practice, and more

SANTA CLARA – Starting center Jonathan Goodwin spoke in the media tent Thursday about guards Alex Boone and Leonard Davis, how the Niners 31st ranked red zone offense can improve and how physical these padded training camp practices can get. Here’s a transcript. Q: Greg Roman said you guys are going to do a lot of red zone work today. Is that one of the main areas you guys need…

August 2, 2012

Assorted Niners stats

Although many of you disagree with Football Outsiders projections for the upcoming season, their 2012 almanac has some interesting stats from last season I’d like to share with you. “Alex Smith was out of the pocket on 19 percent of pass plays, fifth in the league, and was pretty bad on these plays, with just 4.4 yards per play and -25.1% DVOA.” What this means to me: Quarterbacks usually ad-lib…

July 17, 2012

Ranking the Niners best players: Nos. 21-25

This is the final quintile of the Niners 25 best players. To read the previous quintile, click here. 21. Bruce Miller, FB – a Pro Bowl alternate in 2011, his rookie season. A very good blocker and a surprisingly good receiver for a fullback. 22. C.J. Spillman, ST – Led the team with 19 special teams tackles in 2011 (tied for fourth most in the NFL). Perhaps the best gunner…

June 27, 2012

Grading the 49ers: Offensive line

Before: Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Adam Snyder, Anthony Davis, Alex Boone, Chilo Rachal, Daniel Kilgore and Mike Person. Grade: C+ Why: LT Joe Staley was a Pro Bowler and LG Mike Iupati was very good, but the mere presence of RG Chilo Rachal in the starting lineup at the beginning of the season nearly sunk the entire offense. Harbaugh benched him for Adam Snyder, who upgraded the right…

April 29, 2012

How the draft will play out for the 49ers

Here’s how the 49ers 2012 draft will play out. 1. They’re going to draft the best player available in the first round, and he will be Stanford TE Coby Fleener. He will instantly improve the Niners’ biggest weakness – their passing attack – and he will eventually replace Delanie Walker, who will be a free agent after this season. 2. They’re going to trade up in the second round for…

March 29, 2012

Greg Roman describes Alex Smith’s skill set, and more.

SANTA CLARA – Here’s the transcript of Greg Roman’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers. Opening Statement: “We’re working hard on this Arizona defense. They had a coordinator change this year. Their defense is a Pittsburgh Steelers scheme. They brought in their defensive coordinator who had been with the Steelers for quite awhile. They play extremely hard. They’re getting much better, playing with much more confidence and expertise within…

November 17, 2011

Roman: “We’re still breaking into whatever percentile it is of what we do.”

SANTA CLARA – Here is the transcript of Greg Roman’s press conference from this afternoon, courtesy of the 49ers. Opening Statement: “We’re right into getting ready for our Thursday practice. Had a great walk-through, had a good, vibrant practice yesterday. Got a stiff challenge ahead of us with the Browns. Obviously, everybody knows they’re the 4th ranked defense in the league, doing a tremendous job there getting people off the…

October 27, 2011

Wednesday’s injury report

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what Wednesday’s injury report looks like. 49ers: Did Not Participate in Practice: RB Moran Norris (fibula). Limited Participation in Practice: CB Tramaine Brock (hand), WR Michael Crabtree (foot), CB Chris Culliver (shoulder), WR Braylon Edwards (knee), C Jonathan Goodwin (concussion). Full Participation in Practice: CB Shawntae Spencer (toe). Browns: Did Not Participate in Practice: G Shawn Lauvao (knee), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (head), S Raymond Ventrone (hamstring),…

October 26, 2011